Choosing the right species of wood for your barbecue can be the deciding factor between good barbecue, and awesome barbecue. One of the best things about grilling is choosing the best type of wood to complement your meat, and using the right piece of wood to enhance the flavor and even appearance of whatever you decide to throw on the grill.
The variety of woods is seemingly endless, but finding the right wood for the right meat can make your barbecue a cut above the rest. With an ambient temperature resistance of 572°F/300°C, and an internal temp resistance 212°F/100°C, the MeatStick is highly compatible with all kinds of smoking wood, and it'll let you know once your meat is perfectly cooked via our app.
Let's start with the most popular wood types used for BBQ, and analyze each wood type's special features + foods they match best with:
Although there are dozens more, these are some of the most common wood species used for grilling.
Hickory is the go-to-choice of the American BBQ-scene and is known for its savory, sweet and bacon-like flavor. It pairs beautifully with the following meats:
Hickory’s popularity within North America and worldwide appeal make it the first choice for all kinds of grilling.
Oak is a mild smoking wood and is a good choice for everyone who does not like a strong smokey flavor, or for those who plan to grill seafood or fish. It's also perfect for meats like:
As you can see, Oak is also very versatile and is ideal for preserving the natural taste of a dish.
Apple wood offers a more fruity and sweet taste, and is a weaker tasting wood. Apple wood requires a bit of extra time in order to really seep into foods and for the foods to really adapt the flavor.
Apple wood is perfect for Low & Slow sessions. The longer it takes, the better it tastes.
You want to have Texas Style BBQ? Be sure to have enough mesquite wood in stock. Namely, this is one of the main contributors to a successful Texan BBQ. It provides a strong, intense flavor and adding a unique note to your foods which should be including :
Smoking meats with mesquite calls for a decent amount of experience and requires patience so you better get some help from an experienced BBQ-chef.
Not only are the nuts of this tree awesome, we also really enjoy its wood to grill our meats with! Pecan belongs to the hickory tree family and offers a strong flavor characteristic. Since Pecan burns very slowly, It is best used for longer BBQs like Low & Slow barbecue. Try it for the following meats:
But be careful since pecan tends to become pungent when used in a high quantity. To prevent that, try mixing pecan along with another type of wood, like Hickory or Oak.
Next on the list is walnut wood. Black walnut wood is especially known for its very intense, almost bitter taste and is not suitable for everyone’s palate. We recommend you to mix it with other woods and to cook strong tasting meats like:
Definitely avoid using walnut wood for mild-tasting stuff like seafood, fish, or veggies.
Alder is an all-round choice for everyone. It's hard to go wrong by using it for your BBQ. Use it especially if you want to grill milder tasting foods like:
Alder is the perfect wood for home special occasions, and we highly recommend having a staple of alder at home.
Another sweet-tasting wood on the list and perfect for those who enjoy a maple smoke flavor characteristic. Maple works especially well for the following foods:
Maple is renowned for its flavor and is a versatile wood type for all types of BBQs.
Try giving mulberry a shot at your next BBQ! Mulberry adds a blackberry-like taste to anything you grill, and is perfect for:
Mulberry is very mild but adds a sweet, tangy taste to your BBQ. Highly recommended.
Cherry provides a fruity flavor to your BBQ and occasionally adds a beautiful red tint on poultry and pork. Cherry is perfect for:
Cherry is definitely one of the most delicious and eye-catching woods to work with.
Although entirely up to personal preference and availability, wood chips are by far the most commonly used wood to work with due to its wide availability. The downside, however, is that wood chips should be soaked (preferably the night before) in order to be more effective and long-lasting.
Wood chunks on the other hand, do not need to be soaked but are less available. Especially when it comes to more exotic wood types like chestnut, manuka, or olive.
It is important to remember health and safety regulations when dealing with the different kinds of smoking woods to protect not only yourself, but others as well. Also, to avoid unwanted flavors.
These are some important safety tips:
Overall, the spectrum of BBQ woods is a huge topic, and it's almost everything about personal preference. So be creative, try what sounds good to you and experiment with it. Keep in mind to not burn chemically treated wood and avoid certain groups of it.
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